This Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe has a delicious creamy dressing that’s tangy, sweet, and totally addicting! It tastes just like it came from a Hawaiian Food Truck.

This recipe serves 12 people and costs about $5.39 to make.

A serving spoon scooping up some of the Hawaiian mac salad.

This past April, my family and I were on the island of Oahu for Spring Break. While there, we soaked up as much of the Hawaiian culture and food as we could. 

Almost daily, I would have Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with my lunch or dinner (or heck, sometimes both) because it was simple, so creamy, so delicious, and SO addicting!

When I got back from our trip to Hawaii, I got started right away on my version of this classic recipe. I’ve been tasting the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe for a few months now, and I’m happy to report that I nailed it!

An overhead picture of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad in a serving bowl.

I have made this Hawaiian style Macaroni Salad for family gatherings, pot lucks, and bar-b-ques. Every single time I have had rave reviews. It’s always the first dish to go, and it is the first dish folks ask for the recipe.

It is a classic dish that is perfect for all kinds of occasions. Bring a little bit of the islands to your home or next party by whipping up a batch of this authentic Hawaiian Food Truck Macaroni salad. 

Do you put eggs in Macaroni Salad?

No. Well, yes, sometimes. Let me explain.

Traditional salads do not have eggs or hard-boiled eggs in them. However, while in Hawaii, I noticed on some menus that there is a side dish called Potato Mac Salad, which is a mash-up of potato salad and macaroni salad that DOES have egg in it (recipe coming soon!).

How to Make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Ahead of Time:

You can prepare this Hawaiian mac salad up to 3 days in advance. Just follow the complete instructions below, transfer the mixture to an airtight container, and keep it in the refrigerator. 

What goes well with Macaroni Salad?

Any kind of backyard barbecue food, but here are some of my favorites:

Mac salad in a white bowl with a fork digging into the salad.

It first became popular in Hawaii because it was so cheap to make. It is also incredibly filling. In fact, on a lunch plate in Hawaii, it is hard to find a plate that does not have a macaroni salad served on it! 

Can you freeze macaroni salad?

Yes, you can freeze it. Just place the assembled macaroni salad in the freezer in an airtight container. When you are ready to use it, put it in the fridge the day before you want to eat it to defrost.

What other people are saying about this Recipe:

This recipe has been shared over 17,000 times on social media. Here is what some people are saying:

I used your recipe for a Luau themed work party and everyone loved it. I have shared the recipe with all of them so your genius is likely to be spread throughout Florida now! Thanks for sharing it. Yummmm! -Nancie J

Delicious! Three generations of family ate this and complimented me, even a five year old! – Tammy

Cook’s Note:

  • If you use anything but half-and-half and mayonnaise, then the dressing for this macaroni salad will be too thin.
  • This recipe is great to make ahead of time as it will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. Just make sure you give everything a good stir before serving.
  • If you want to make this pasta salad into more of a main dish, then I suggest adding 2 cups of chopped chicken or 2 cups of the diced ham in step 4 below.
Macaroni Salad in a white bowl with a fork next to the bowl and green onions in the background.

Ingredients and Estimated Cost



NOTE: I calculate the recipe prices by using name-brand grocery prices on grocery store websites.

  • 2 cups half-and-half  – $0.88
  • 2 cups Duke’s mayonnaise  – $1.60
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon grated yellow onion – $0.06
  • 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar – $0.03
  • 2 teaspoons pepper – $0.01
  • 1 teaspoon salt – $0.01
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni – $1.38
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar – $0.16
  • 5 green onions – $0.50
  • 2 large celery ribs  – $0.36
  • 1 cup grated carrots – $0.40

More from Food Folks and Fun

How to make classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:

An overhead picture of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad in a serving bowl.
4.32 from 239 votes

Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Author Jillian – a Food, Folks and Fun original!
Recipe Cost $ $5.39
Serving Cost $ $0.45
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
12 people
This Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe has a delicious creamy dressing that’s tangy, sweet, and totally addicting! It’s great for summer cookouts or anytime!


  • mixing bowls
  • pasta pot
  • serving bowl



  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups mayonnaise Duke’s if you can find it
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons grated yellow onion
  • 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 green onions white and green parts sliced thin
  • 2 large celery ribs chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup grated carrots



  • In a medium bowl whisk together the half-and-half, mayonnaise, grated onion, dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of pepper until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.


  • Cook the macaroni as per the package instructions, except add 5 minutes to the cooking time on the package instructions (you want the macaroni to be very soft and plump so it absorbs the dressing better). Drain the macaroni into a colander and then dump it back into the pot. Add in the apple cider vinegar and stir until the pasta absorbs the vinegar. Cover the pot with a lid and cool for 20 minutes at room temperature.


  • Add half of the dressing and stir to combine. Then, cover the lid and cool for another 20 minutes.
  • Add in the remaining dressing, green onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Cool completely to room temperature, about 30 more minutes.
  • Transfer the macaroni salad to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.



Serving: 1cup | Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 482mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1875IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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More Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes:

Picture collage of mac salad for Pinterest.

This first appeared on Food Folks and Fun on August 15, 2018. I have since updated the pictures and added a recipe video. 

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Recipe Rating


  1. I received so many compliments on the salad, DELICIOUS was the word used most often. The recipe easily fed 14 adults, the combination of flavors and the crunch of the vegetables are a perfect match

    1. Dayna Jankowski says:

      Thank you for sharing! I’m glad it was a hit!

  2. This makes very generous servings for twelve. I double though for it is very addictive as well as delicious! I added 2 cans of well drained Tibet Pineapple and a large pack of diced ham. Always the favorite at any pot luck or large gathering. Never have any left, even after doubling the recipe, fir guests take all home!!

  3. Oahu Venues says:

    This Hawaiian macaroni salad looks delicious! I love how you combined the sweet pineapple and creamy mayonnaise with the crunchy macaroni. It’s a great combination of flavors and textures. As the owner of I’m definitely going to give this recipe a try! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Dayna Jankowski says:

      Thank you for leaving a review! I appreciate your kind words!

  4. Janice Smith says:

    After many visits to Hawaii, I have tried Hawaiian mac salad recipes and this is, by far, the best. It retains its moisture so no need to add more dressing. I have finally found a winner!

    1. Dayna Jankowski says:

      Thank you for sharing! I’m glad you love it!

  5. jayefromjersey says:

    I made the salad yesterday using what I had on hand which was light cream and Hellman’s mayo. I used half of the pepper because not much of a pepper fan. The salad tasted great just a little heavy more than likely because of the light cream.

  6. This is excellent. Thank you! I haven’t gotten the gist of cooking pasta for two and very often end up with extra. This was a great use of the extra cooked pasta. I heated it in the microwave with a little water for 2 min., then adjusted the recipe for 1/3 of the macaroni. We are all trying to use and not waste, so this was a very happy ending for leftovers.

  7. Michelle Tanner says:

    This looks delicious! My husband cannot have dairy-is there something else I can use instead of the half and half?

    1. You could use a plant-based milk but it won’t be nearly as creamy.

  8. Nilene Thompson-Finn says:

    Wow! So amazing and good! I am having a Tiki New Year’s Eve party this year and made this for a holiday potluck to sample it out before my big party and I am hooked. Wonderful mix of flavors and textures. Adding the cider vinegar into the hot pasta to soak in is genius!

    1. Dayna Jankowski says:

      I’m thrilled that you loved it, thank you for sharing!

  9. harley johnson says:

    Hi my name is harley and i have to say that your video was actually pretty good i liked it so much 🙂 p.s it was a chefs kiss.